10 Mistakes I've Made in Building a Website and Why They Weren't Mistakes
Everybody Makes Mistakes
Anytime you try something new, you're bound to make a few mistakes. Launching a website and learning how to market it effectively is no exception. The whole process sounds very simple and straightforward until you try to put it into practice. Then anything and everything that can go wrong does.
When this happens, it's very easy to think, "The process doesn't work," or even worse,"I'm just not cut out for this." I'm here to tell you that I've been there, and I understand how debilitating those thoughts can be. Moreover, so has anyone who has ever launched a website.
The plain truth is that, however easy they are to use, great websites can be extremely difficult to create. From finding a Wordpress theme that does what you want it to, to creating effective conversion funnels, there is a lot to think about and do. That leaves a lot of room for mistakes to happen!
Mistakes are Lessons in Disguise
Although frustrating, making mistakes is a natural part of learning. When you do the wrong thing, the consequences -- sometimes disastrous ones -- teach you not to do that thing again. And therein lies the key to turning off those negative thoughts. Instead of using your mistakes as excuses to give up or to hate yourself, turn them into lessons. Don't count the ways you messed up today. Instead, ask yourself, "What did I learn today?" Bottom line, the mistakes we make are only truly mistakes if we don't learn from them!
10 Mistakes I've Made and Learned From
To underscore my point, and to show you that I really have been there, here are 10 mistakes I've made in building my website and trying to market it. Feel free to laugh -- some of these are pretty dumb moves on my part! More importantly, though, each was a learning experience. That part, I hope, won't have you laughing, but instead thinking about how to turn your own mistakes around.
10. Used Colors that Drove Readers Away
Did you know that there is psychology to colors and the behaviors that they inspire when we see them? I did -- it was part of my very first Design class. For example, while red can signify a lot of things to different people, it most commonly inspires a 'stop' behavior. Don't go any further...danger ahead...this is what red inspires in most people. Did that keep me from using red all over my website when I thought it looked pretty? Nope. Not until a friend mentioned that something about my site made her want to leave right away, and she couldn't figure out what it was.....
9. Wrote a Long, Detailed Welcome Page
My first attempt at a welcome page was quite long and detailed. I figured if my readers knew everything about me and why I'm the right paper crafts instructor, they'd be more likely to stick around. Wrong. Readers prefer things short and sweet. Go figure!
8. Didn't Proofread Content Before Posting
Imagine getting an email from a friend you haven't heard from in years...to complain about all the typos in your latest article. I'm doing great, by the way. How about you?
6. Didn't Add Back the Google Analytics Code When I Changed Themes
For about a week my website seemed to have flat-lined as far as Google was concerned. Despite receiving many comments on articles during that time period, Analytics showed no data. Well it turns out Google can't track your website if the tracking code isn't installed. Important note to self!
5. Relied on Google to Know My Content Was There
Sometimes even the all-knowing Google needs a push to find a website. Thankfully, the Fetch as Google function in Google Analytics is easy to use and produces quick results!
4. Applied for Affiliate Programs Before I Had Content on My Site
I got so excited at the thought of earning money for the work I was going to be doing that I applied for affiliate programs as soon as I had the shell of my site up. It took a detailed rejection notice for me to figure out that affiliates, like Google, need to see quality content and at least some traffic through your site before they trust you. The nerve of some people!
3. Ditto for Marketing my Website on Facebook
I didn't just set up a business page. I paid Facebook to promote my website. Before having any real content to share. Yeah, I did that.
2. Installed a Plugin That Put Nude Photos on Every Page of my G-Rated Website
I think the title says it all on this one. Thankfully I spend enough time working on the site that I found them before my readers did!
And the worst mistake I've made so far:
1. Locked Myself Out of My Own Website!
I'm always on the hunt for a Wordpress theme that will best convey the artsy nature of my niche. Just last night, in my excitement at finding what seemed to be the perfect theme, I paid for, installed, and activated it. Without researching the theme or the developer, without backing anything up, and without customizing it first. While my readers could see the garbage that was my new, non-customized, totally broken theme, I couldn't even get into the site to fix it. Thank God for Tech Support!
Why My Mistakes Weren't Really Mistakes
As you can see, when I say I've made mistakes, I mean it. All of these cost me -- in time, reputation, and actual money. While it would have been very easy to hate myself or give up over some of these, I choose to see them instead as part of the process. Because of these mistakes, I now know some very important things about what to do and what not to do in building and marketing a website. Moreover, I can share what I've learned with others. Looked at that way, mistakes are pretty valuable, don't you think?